Dyeing Easter eggs, Easter baskets, Easter bunnies, Easter dresses, Easter gifts and Easter egg hunts. This is the stuff of modern Easter celebrations in the U.S.
In addition, there is an annual family gathering for lunch, usually right after attending Easter services at church and just before the Easter egg hunt.
Don’t get me wrong. Minus wearing Easter dresses, I have enjoyed involvement in all of these traditions throughout my life
I recall the competition with my siblings and cousins to find the most eggs during our egg hunts. I recall community egg hunts on the day before Easter. I remember the feast my grandmother prepared. I remember my own children hunting eggs and the dresses my Mom made for my daughters every Easter. There are a lot of sentimental memories tied up in Easter.
I have thought a lot about Easter traditions during the past couple of years. COVID-19 disrupted Easter plans and traditions last year. This year, churches were able to gather again for worship. Easter services at church meant a lot more to me this year.
My wife’s family gathers at her grandmother’s home in Collinsville every Easter Sunday for lunch and an egg hunt for the young children.
This year, one of my nephews brought a friend from college with him, and my daughter brought her boyfriend with her.
It got me to thinking that Christians have a tremendous opportunity to utilize Easter for more than family traditions. It also struck me that there could be more effort taken to encourage Christians to dedicate Easter Sunday to outreach and evangelism.
I began to think about the possibilities to invite non-believers, including international students, neighbors, work associates, friends from the ballpark and others to church on Easter Sunday and join us for lunch at our home or the home where the family gathers.
This would be a step to ensure that Easter Sunday focuses on the Risen Lord and His salvation. It would change a little of the dynamic of Easter Sunday but in good ways. We could move from merely creating family memories to facilitating people’s encounter with the Risen Lord. This is something to think about.
Should we begin now laying the foundation for next year to encourage every family in our churches and every student involved in campus ministry to dedicate Easter Sunday to Jesus through outreach and evangelism?
State Missionary Bill Morrison serves as the lead Baptist campus minister with Metro Birmingham Baptist Campus Ministries with primary responsibility at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.